The Mentoring Action Plan: How to Mentor Now

Using the Mentoring Action Plan (MAP) for mentors and mentees. Set goals, build skills, and thrive in a dynamic mentoring relationship. MAP example included.

How the Mentoring Action Plan (MAP) Works.

The Mentoring Action Plan (MAP) for Mentors and Mentees

How to Mentor Now

This post recommends using the Mentoring Action Plan (MAP) to kick off the mentor relationship.

Mentoring for Professional Development

Mentoring is generally considered an important part of professional development. Since we’re living in a world where career landscapes evolve rapidly, mentoring is sometimes the most effective way to transfer new knowledge quickly.

mentoring action plan (map)

The Problem of Informal Mentoring

While the mentoring process is considered part of the occupational training model, I’ve often found that supportive documents are missing. Mentoring is more than an informal process that happens accidentally. In fact. in South Africa, Black professionals complain about the lack of mentoring available to them. As a result, organizations and learners miss out on deeply authentic development opportunities.

Am I Wrong?: The need for a structured approach

Are you at a firm or NGO that has useful (and official) mentoring processes?

How did mentoring help or deter you? Let me know in the comments section!

I’m going to start creating a series of resource posts for mentors and mentees. But for now, let’s take a look at the Mentoring Action Plan.

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The Mentoring Action Plan (MAP): How to use it

A Mentoring Action Plan is a strategic roadmap that is used to define goals and outline specific steps for mentors and mentees. Its purpose is to provide a clear framework, fostering a purposeful and productive mentoring relationship.

Why a Mentoring Action Plan is Necessary:

While informal mentoring has its merits, challenges arise without a structured plan. A Mentoring Action Plan is therefore used to maintain a focused process, measurable progress, and a shared commitment to success.

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1. What is a Mentoring Action Plan (MAP)?


To clarify, a mentoring action plan is a structured and purposeful outline. Therefore the MAP identifies specific steps and goals for the mentor and mentee to follow in their mentoring relationship.

An effective plan also addresses developmental areas that are important to the mentoree, produce a concrete result, and most importantly, are manageable in scope.

Therefore, the Mentoring Action Plan bridges where the mentoree is now to where they want to be in the future.

2. Components of a Mentoring Action Plan:

  1. Goal Setting:
  2. Identification of Strengths and Areas for Improvement:
    • Assess the mentee’s current skills, strengths, and areas for improvement. This helps in tailoring the mentoring plan to address specific needs.
  3. Action Steps:
    • Outline specific actions and activities that both the mentor and mentee will undertake to achieve the established goals. For example, these actions may include skill-building exercises, networking opportunities, or targeted projects.
  4. Timeline:
    • Establish a timeline for achieving the identified goals. This then helps create a sense of structure and urgency, ensuring that progress is measurable and milestones are met on time.
  5. Check-In Points:
    • Determine regular check-in points for both the mentor and mentee to review progress, discuss challenges, and adjust the action plan as needed. For example, these check-ins can occur monthly, quarterly, or at other agreed-upon intervals.
  6. Resources and Support:
    • Identify any resources, tools, or support mechanisms that may be beneficial in achieving the mentoring goals. For example, this could include training programs, industry events, or access to specific networks.
  7. Feedback Mechanism:
    • Establish a feedback mechanism for both parties to share their thoughts on the mentoring process. This fosters open communication and ensures that adjustments can be made to enhance the effectiveness of the mentoring relationship.
  8. Evaluation Criteria:
    • Define criteria for evaluating the success of the mentoring relationship. For example, this could involve the achievement of specific skill development, career milestones, or other agreed-upon outcomes.
  9. Flexibility:
    • Acknowledge that the mentoring action plan may need adjustments based on changing circumstances or evolving career goals. Flexibility ensures that the plan remains relevant and responsive to the mentee’s needs.
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3. Mentoring Action Plan: Development Questions for Mentees

To guide the creation of their Mentoring Action Plan, mentees can consider questions that prompt reflection and goal-setting.

  • Are there specific skills you want to develop?
  • What type of organizational knowledge do you need to develop?
  • What new partnerships and alliances are you hoping to make?
  • How will you know when you have successfully enhanced this skill?
  • What developmental activities would help you to develop the most? (Brainstorm a list of possibilities and options.)
  • Of all the ways you might develop, which are most feasible?
  • How will you apply your new skills on the job? 

Dynamic Mentoring Examples

1. Mentoring for Expertise:

  • This refers to an individual’s proficiency in the skills, knowledge, and competencies required for their specific job or career field.
  • Developing and continually refining expertise means staying relevant in a rapidly changing work environment.
  • Continuous learning, training, and staying abreast of industry developments are essential components of building and maintaining expertise.

2. Mentoring for Building Relationships:

  • Building effective relationships is a vital skill in the professional world. It involves connecting with colleagues, clients, mentors, and others.
  • Effective communication, interpersonal skills, and emotional intelligence play key roles in relationship-building.
  • Cultivating a network of contacts can provide valuable support, opportunities, and insights throughout one’s career.

3. Mentoring for Navigating the Organization:

  • Understanding the formal and informal structures within an organization is essential for success.
  • Formal structures include the organizational hierarchy, policies, and procedures, while informal structures involve networks, alliances, and cultural dynamics.
  • Navigating the organization successfully involves not only understanding these structures but also knowing how to leverage them to achieve goals.

Example of a Mentoring Action Plan Template

vision statement for the mentoring plan

This Mentoring Action Plan (MAP) template provides a structured framework for mentors and mentees to define, track, and achieve their goals in a dynamic and purposeful mentoring relationship. Customize each section to align with specific objectives and continuously revisit and adjust the plan as needed.

I. Goal Setting:

  • Short-Term Goals:
  • Long-Term Goals:

II. Identification of Strengths and Areas for Improvement:

  • Current Skills:
  • Areas for Improvement:

III. Action Steps:

  • Specific Activities:

IV. Timeline:

  • Milestones and Deadlines:

V. Check-In Points:

  • Frequency:
  • Agenda:
    • Progress Review
    • Challenges Discussion
    • Plan Adjustment

VI. Resources and Support:

  • Tools:
  • Training:
  • Networks:

VII. Feedback Mechanism:

  • Channels:
  • Schedule:

VIII. Evaluation Criteria:

  • Measurable Success Indicators:

IX. Flexibility:

  • Anticipated Changes:
  • Adaptation Strategy:

X. Development Questions for Mentees:

  • Reflect on Your Current Role:
  • Short-Term Career Objectives:
  • Long-Term Career Aspirations:

XI. Dynamic Mentoring:

  • a. Mentoring for Expertise:
  • b. Mentoring for Building Relationships:
  • c. Mentoring for Navigating the Organization:

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